The 7 Best Acoustic Guitar Brands
Posted by Robinson Earle on Oct 26th 2021
Best Acoustic Guitar Brands
Although taste is ultimately subjective, we strive to carry the “best” at Midwood Guitar Studio. The brands that we carry are a reflection of our values and extensive knowledge—if we don’t stand behind it, we don’t sell it. No matter what kind of player you are, we want to find you the perfect guitar for your preferences and playing style.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to guitars, and it’d be hard to declare any one manufacturer as “the best.” However, we’ve come up with a list of our top 7 acoustic guitar manufacturers based on a few key factors:
- Build quality
With that said, here are our top 7 acoustic guitar brands:
1) Martin Guitars
Established in 1833,Martin guitars have long set the standard for American guitar craft. They possess a massive library of classic tonewoods and utilize traditional building techniques. C.F. Martin & Company build guitars that draw inspiration from different epochs and centuries. That said, despite their wide range of models and styles, they all sound like Martins.
Having stood the test of time as a brand, Martin acoustic guitars stand the test of time as well. Built from the highest quality materials by dedicated craftsmen, a Martin is made to last a lifetime or more. Martin Guitars have been played by artists around the world and can be found on the biggest arena stages as well as in the hands of bedroom guitar players. Some of the most famous Martin players include Eric Clapton, Dolly Parton, David Crosby, Bob Dylan, Tommy Emmanuel, and more.
Martin guitars can be found at a wide range of price points, starting around $500 and going for as high as $120,000—with plenty of options in between.
Shop our Martin guitars.
2) Taylor Guitars
Bob Taylor began building guitars in the mid-1970s, and the company he founded went on to play an integral role in defining the sonic and visual aesthetic of the modern acoustic guitar. Consistency, affordability, and tonal excellence are key features of the Taylor creed. Taylor guitars sport sensual curves, exotic, yet sustainable tonewoods, and play like melted butter. The articulate, mid-range voicing of their instruments translates beautifully through amps and PA systems. For many, Taylor is the ideal 6-string for the 21st century.
Taylor Guitars are known for many things, most of them good, and some of them, like their smooth-as-butter necks, are nothing short of exceptional. Another great thing about Taylor acoustic guitars is the variety of woods, body shapes, sizes, and price—no matter what you’re looking for in an acoustic guitar, there’s a Taylor acoustic for you!
3) Maton Guitars
Guitar culture is a global phenomenon, and Maton of Australia has ensured that pickers down under have access to top-quality instruments. Founded in 1946, Maton is still family-owned and based around Melbourne. By utilizing native Australian tonewoods including Bunya, Victorian Blackwood, and Queensland Maple among others, Maton has ensured that they have their own unique sound.
Maton offers an impressive array of acoustic guitar models that all pack uncanny amounts of punch and power. In addition, the Maton AP5 pickup system cuts through the largest of ensembles in the biggest of arenas. Artists such as Tommy Emmanuel and Keith Urban have spread the good word around the world, and we are proud to represent Maton here in Charlotte, North Carolina!
Shop our Maton acoustic guitars today.
Eastman guitars started out as a violin company that employed old-world building techniques. The most revered stringed instruments are built by hand, with keen attention to top voicing, and the folks at Eastman felt that they could train a team of luthiers in Beijing, China to build world-class instruments in this manner for a fraction of the cost of comparable operations in the US. When Eastman began building guitars, professional players took note. Starting with archtops, they eventually moved on to “golden-era” inspired flat-tops, and now you can find solid-body Eastman electric guitars.
Eastman sources its wood from many of the same places as the high-end “boutique” builders, and uses well-known woods such as mahogany, rosewood, maple, spruce, and more. Because of their high-quality materials and relatively low cost, many of our customers have chosen to buy multiple Eastman guitars rather than one “boutique” acoustic. Quite simply, Eastman guitars offer a lot of bang for your buck, and even more fun to sit down and play.
Shop our Eastman acoustic guitars.
For guitarists torn between a classical guitar and steel-string sensibility, Larrivée really hits the spot. Jean Larrivée started the company in 1967 after completing an apprenticeship under esteemed luthier, Edgar Moench Sr. He quickly garnered a reputation for his exquisite top-voicing and meticulous attention to detail. His wife, Wendy, also proved one of the most artistic inlay artists in the guitar world. Although founded in Canada, Larrivée moved their operations to California in 2013.
Larrivée guitars are known for their uniquely lush overtones and tonal sensitivity, as well as their beautiful inlays and sometimes extravagant headstocks. While they certainly look pretty, they’re also a real player’s guitar that can sing with just a light touch. Finger stylists and precise flat-pickers adore the subtle palette that Larrivée guitars provide. If you’re looking for an acoustic guitar that looks great, plays beautifully, and will stand the test of time, you really can’t go wrong with a Larrivée acoustic.
Shop our Larrivée acoustic guitars today.
Is it even possible to write about guitar brands without mentioning PRS? Paul Reed Smith guitars first hit the scene in the mid-1980s andasserted themselves as the ideal compromise for electric guitarists caught between Fender and Gibson. PRS guitars originally found success with their electric guitars and became known for producing some of the highest-quality guitars available. In 2009, they turned their attention to acoustic guitars, and guitarists everywhere rejoiced.
Crossover artists and traditionalists alike adore the effortless playability and sleek, ergonomic curves of PRS acoustic guitars. Founder, Paul Reed Smith, is adamant that each and every tiny piece of his instruments contribute to their tone, and his acoustic line demonstrates this philosophy beautifully. PRS acoustic guitars come in a wide range of styles including their smaller Parlor acoustics, and their more traditionally-sized Angelus and Tonare bodies.
Shop PRS acoustic guitars today, or check out our PRS electric guitar lineup.
7) Collings Guitars
Arguably the biggest name to emerge out of the boutique acoustic guitar boom of the early 21st century is Collings Guitars. An engineer by trade and disposition, Bill Collings approached all man-made objects with the question, “how can I make this better?” His hybrid mortise and tenon/bolt neck joint has been hailed as one of the greatest structural innovations since the dovetail neck joint, and the near-scientific criterion that he established for the selection of tonewoods is unrivaled. Sadly, Bill Collings passed away in 2017, but his legacy lives on in the 27,000 square foot warehouse in Austin, Texas full of luthiers that he personally trained.
Collings guitars are phenomenal instruments and offer a warm, clear tone that is full of energy. Their choice of wood is exceptional, utilizing the most elegant ebony, mahogany, Indian rosewood, and quilted maple that is then seasoned and stored in climate-controlled rooms for maximum tonal quality. Collings guitars may not be the cheapest acoustic guitar on the market, but we guarantee you’ll feel, and love, the difference each time you play.
Shop our Collings acoustic guitars today.